10 Summer Day Trips from Fargo with Kids

day trips from Fargo
Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, ND

Looking for a break in your normal routine and a day of fun? Get out there and have an adventure not too far from home with these day trips from Fargo! Here are some nearby options.

Day Trips from Fargo

1. Detroit Lakes, MN

Drive Time: 50 minutes

Credit: Dani Ladwig

The Detroit Lake Public Beach is a great spot for swimming. And the nearby Detroit Lakes City Park has a  playground for the kids, disc golf course, and a picnic area all right near the shore of Little Detroit.

Detroit Lakes has lots of places to eat including Zorbaz, a fun family-friendly spot for pizza and Mexican food with a large patio for outdoor dining.

The Becker County Museum is a history, science, and children’s museum. It has 14,000 photographs and 20,000 artifacts along with the “World’s Smallest Gas Station.” Bonus, kids are free!

Just outside the city, the Shady Hollow Flea Market is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Selling new and used items, it is a great spot to go treasure hunting!

K and K Tubing offers a two-hour tour down the Ottertail River. They provide special kids tubes and even tubes for dogs. It’s located seven miles east of Detroit Lakes on Highway 34.

Detroit Mountain offers mountain biking in the summer. And also has a Natural Play Area for kids made of natural materials and featuring a tunnel, slides, and climbing net.

For a fun itinerary, check out our article on things to do in Detroit Lakes!


2. Otter Cove Children’s Museum (Fergus Falls, MN)

Drive Time: 1 hour

otter cove
Otter Cove Children’s Museum. Photo Credit: Ashlee Cournia

This museum offers lots of creative space to play and learn with an indoor playground, maker shop, stage, and miniature downtown Fergus Falls. Encouraging the use physical play, art, and imagination, children are able to touch and climb on interactive exhibits.

After some exploration, take a quick drive down to Pebble Lake, where there is a public swimming beach and Delagoon Park.

Read this post for more details on an Otter Cove day trip!


3. Battle Lake, MN

Drive Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Located in Central Minnesota Lakes Country, Battle Lake is a nice day trip from Fargo that has unique shops, parks, restaurants, and resorts.

Granny’s Pantry is a kid favorite. As both an ice cream and candy shop, this is a sugar lover’s dream. They offer 40 flavors of hard ice cream, homemade fudge and chocolate, and a large variety of candy.

In Glendalough State Park explore Annie Battle Lake, by canoe or kayak, or fish and camp in this beautiful setting. Also, the shore is the perfect place for a picnic and swimming. And for biking, there is a 12-mile paved trail and many hiking trails are also available.

State parks near Fargo.
Glendalough State Park. Photo Credit: Sally Casey

The Prospect House and Civil War Museum is housed in a historic home built in 1882 in the “Georgian style.” It served for years as a seasonal resort and is perhaps the first and largest resort in the lakes area. It is now a historical site with markers around the property telling the story of the house. And located on the lower level of the house is a Civil War museum that includes a Civil War uniform (with holes from gunshots) and a collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia.

The Art of the Lakes Gallery is open Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. This gallery sponsors art exhibits and also promotes visual art and art appreciation.

Inspiration Peak, at 1,750 feet, is the highest point in Otter Tail County and one of the highest points in the State of Minnesota. There are places to picnic and restrooms available. Hike the 1/4 mile trail to the summit and enjoy spectacular views of about 50 surrounding lakes!


4. Chahinkapa Zoo (Wahpeton, ND)

Drive Time: 55 minutes

This large zoo in Wahpeton, ND has over 200 animals, with 70 different species from six continents. The zoo has the Prairie Rose Carousel, classes, a campground close to the animals, and a nearby playground.

Need a bite to eat after your zoo adventure? Check out The Wilkin, a restaurant that got its start way back in 1896, or the newer City Brew Hall. 

Read this post for more ideas on things to do in Wahpeton!


5. Itasca State Park/Headwaters

Drive Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

things to do in itascaUp in Northwest Minnesota and established in 1891, Itasca is Minnesota’s oldest state park. It spans 32,000 acres with bike trails, a Visitors Center, 10-mile wilderness drive through lakes and forests, an observation tower, and boat excursions on Lake Itasca. See the start of the mighty Mississippi River and hop from rock to rock at the headwaters.

Stay at historic Douglas Lodge, with an onsite restaurant, or rough it and go camping.

Read this post for more information on visiting Itasca State Park. 


6. National Buffalo Museum & Jamestown Reservoir

Drive Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

things to do in Jamestown
Photo credit: Anthea Varriano-Jorgenson

This day trip from Fargo is near the “World’s Largest Buffalo” in Jamestown, ND. Started in 1991 to tell the story of the North American Bison, it has bison-related artifacts, artwork, and historic memorabilia. Including a 10,000 year-old bison skull! Also on display are Native American art and artifacts.

Need to cool off later? Relax on the beach of the Jamestown Reservoir! Make sure to pack a picnic lunch to refuel for some water fun.

Check out this post for more fun ideas to do in Jamestown!


7. Bramble Park Zoo & Watertown Aquatic Center (Watertown, SD)

Drive Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

bramble park KidZoo play area
Photo Credit: Anthea Varriano-Jorgenson

While this is one of the longer day trips from Fargo, this zoo features over 600 animals in its 15 acres. Started in 1912, they offer family fun with concessions, a playground, and picnic areas. Zoo keeper talks and demonstrations are offered along with guided tours for groups.

After your time at the zoo, cool off at the Water Family Aquatic Center! This outdoor water park has a bath house with concessions, family change rooms and a three-pool complex including:

  • Zero depth entry pool
  • Lazy River
  • Diving board
  • Multiple slides
  • In-water playground
  • Four interactive play features


8. Trowbridge Creek Zoo (Vergas, MN)

Drive Time: 1 hour

trowbridge creek zoo
Photo Credit: Trowbridge Creek Zoo

A small family-friendly attraction containing a petting zoo, birds and exotic animals, and walking trails. This zoo provides an opportunity to get up close to the animals. Take full advantage of the beautiful setting by hiking the trails!

After some zoo fun, take a dip in Long Lake and enjoy the sandy beach area and park there. Check out the World’s Largest Loon for a fun photo op!


9. Fort Ransom State Park

Drive Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

for ransom state park
Credit: Fort Ransom State Park via Facebook.com

A scenic, wooded area in the Sheyenne River Valley, south of Valley City. Fort Ransom State Park provides an opportunity for bird watching, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, and camping. Unique lodging options include staying in a yurt, or a covered wagon.

Check out the Sunne Farmstead within the park to learn about North Dakota’s homesteading heritage. Or hike the Oak Leaf Trail in nearby Sheyenne National Grasslands. 

And Fort Ransom State Park is accessible from the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway. Continue on the byway for views of rolling hills, quaint towns, and farms.

Stop in nearby Lisbon, ND for lunch or grab ice cream at I Scream U Scream.


10. Fort Abercrombie

Drive Time: 40 minutes

fort abercrombie
Photo Credit: For Abercrombie via Facebook.com

Just 35 miles south of Fargo-Moorhead, this state historic site was known as “the Gateway to the Dakotas.” It was the first permanent U.S. military fort in North Dakota. Learn more about the fort and its history by viewing historic buildings (including an original guard house), museum exhibits, and taking a guided tour.

What’s one of your favorite day trips from Fargo? Let us know if we should add it!

Other day trip ideas:

Swimming Beaches Near Fargo

Berry-Picking Farms Near Fargo

County Fairs Near Fargo

Zoos Near Fargo

Best Hiking Spots near Fargo

State Parks Near Fargo

More day trip spots

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Still need more summer ideas?

Click on the image below to see out Ultimate Guide to Summer, or visit any of the articles below!

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Leah Tennefos
Leah is a true Midwesterner: born in Minnesota, educated at the University of North Dakota, and living in Fargo since 2009. She has a degree in English and spent years working as a paralegal. Leah is now a stay-at-home mom to two boys, Andrew and Sammy. She spends her free time reading, traveling, and getting a good workout in. She loves learning, music, art, coffee, the oxford comma, and is continually pursuing the elusive goal of having an organized home.


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